Routine.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: True Confessions  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story from year 10.
A true story from year 9.

Submitted: August 13, 2012

A A A | A A A

Submitted: August 13, 2012

A A A

A A A


 

The room seems to spin and I feel the floor drop beneath me.  Eyelids fluttering, silhouettes murmur in and out of my vision, chattering, gossiping, shouting.  

Damn.  Too much, this time.

See, this is the after-effect of syrup abuse.  

I don't abuse it for the slurry, blurry feeling.  I hate that feeling.  

I don't sleep.  I can't.  Some nights, I'm fine, like I can sleep through a hurricane; other nights, weeks, more like it, I stay up for days on end.  My record? Five.  Five days of hell; the hours know how to run together and drip through my skull.  

Banners: Writes! Contest, this coming May 21st.  Senior Prom: Peter Pan-themed, floral event.  Come join the Psychology club, grades 9-12.

The simple way to fix this, of course, is through medicine.  Unfortunately for me, my old doctor had only begun to think of prescribing sleeping pills for me right when we switched to a new one.  I kept it a secret.  I mean, it's no big deal.  I get my own medicine through the cabinet: night-time cough syrup.  It does the trick.  I remember not to take too much.

Most of the time.

The bodies that jolted me through the stairs thin out as I reach the third floor.  The pale yellow corridors mock me, surrounding my vision with nothing but confusion and headaches.  

I manage to stumble up the last set of stairs without any outstanding observers.  We all just trickle by to our classes, minding nothing but ourselves.  

Everyone has a secret life at this school, 'prestegious' until you actually see how crappy our state's education system is.

My hand fumbles for the cool, steel door handle, but my fingers feel numb.  I can’t focus on anything; I’m slipping through space…

Somehow, my brain pulls it together and I push the door, slamming my forehead onto it in the process.  Fuck. This is a ‘pull-only’ door. 

Muttering expletives, I manage to get it open, still not able to see, hear, or think anything sensible.  I hate days like this, but at least it’ll take the edge off of Mr. K’s lectures. 

The floor is patterned.  Egg-shell, ebony, scarlet, all speckled with some off-hue color.  They run through my mind. 

I walk to his door, W-303, W-304, W-30-

I fall.  It was too heavy.  The lights were too heavy.

Black patches soak through my mind as my arms collapse by my side, my eyes fighting to stay open.  The air has me pinned to the ground as it spins on an axis, twirling me around on its surface through nowhere.

I’m so dizzy.

W-305.

History class.

I need to get there on time today, Mr. K is lecturing today.

I need to get there on time every day, Mr. K is lecturing every day.

Something clicks in my brain.

My head suddenly feels heavy as I jolt up, the lights blaring down through my pupils.  Temporary blindness.

My vision, once returned, is clear.  It’s sharp, acutely sharp, in fact, as I stand up. 

My knees buckle momentarily as I straighten my posture.  My hair is flying in wisps above my ponytail, which I flatten down.  My backpack is uneven and heavy.

Everything is still so bright, so acute, so clear.

“Are you alright?”

I look up, to see him.  Yeah, him. The silly, hotness-incarnate, jock that everyone falls for at one time or another.  He’s a genius.  He’s a social idiot.  He’s perfect.

I blink.  Does he seriously have to show up at this time? I know that he kind of hates me, but right now?

“Are you alright?” He asks again.

Why are you asking me? After three quarters of being in class together, Mr. 4.3 GPA shouldn’t concern himself with someone like me.  Someone who doodles in class and talks back to the teacher.  I yell, I shout, I say things that I shouldn’t, and I never, ever turn my homework in on time.  Hell, I can’t even remember where I put it.

He looks at me so expectantly that I almost tell him the truth.

Last night, report cards came in.  At least, I think it was last night.  It’s all kind of a blur.

I am in no way alright.

Dad spent the night screaming at me.

Miserable failure.

Waste of money.

Incompetent brat.

Sad excuse for a human being.

My grades are apparently that bad. 

I’m getting a 3.0 at one of the prestigious schools in the state.

But, then again, if you look at it, you’ll see how crappy our state education is.

There’s a bruise on my shoulder from where he pushed me into the concrete wall, to the right of the kitchen door.  The shove came from nowhere, one second, I felt his hot breath spitting at me all that was wrong with me, and then I felt my skull make contact with the wall behind me.

There are two good things about concrete walls: you can hurt your kids with them, and no one will ever hear them scream.

My brother is getting a 2.0 at the same school, his senior year.  He has completed no college applications.  At the time, he was on Xbox Live.  Again.  At 9 PM, he was still going strong, yelling at those “noobs” where they could shove their “fucking energy swords.”

But, oh, no.  Comparisons are futile. 

“Andrew is doing nothing and he gets away with it every day! It sucks!”

The back of her hand cracked against my cheek with a flaming hatred.  “Watch your damn language,” she hissed. 

My family has a thing for being contradictory, in more ways than one.

This sucks.

I look back up at him, open hand, with no threat.  How simple one’s life seems from another’s eyes.

Eyes.

Two nights ago, empty eyes, like glass, scanned over me with a hunger for blood and pain.

I’ve had far too much blood and pain to take any more of this shit.

Cornered, at 1 AM, in a concrete alley, by a man with breath of tobacco, whiskey, and regret, a normal girl would have screamed for help.  But, oh no, I think that it’s already been figured out that I am no normal girl.

A cage of arms, hairy and caked in blood, sparked fear in my blood.  He sputtered and slurred, threatened and yelled. 

Lips that tried to touch me, tried to reach me.  Tears that threatened to spill over, but I swore that his blood would be drained before one tear slipped.

It sounds courageous, thinking about it.  It sounds brave.  How wrong it feels now, to look back at the memories that only engrave that copper taste of fear and panic into the roof of my mouth.

I think I might have killed him.

There was blood, so much blood; my hands will never be cleansed until my conscious is just as clear.  Howls of pain echo through the hallway, as soon as I realize that it was just my head. 

I was just my head.

It’s surprising how memories can bring back the sharpness of one’s mind.  How the good memories get lost in the sea of energy, the nightmares to revolve endlessly.

This perfect schoolmate doesn’t know why I carried four knives to school two days ago and only carry three today.  He doesn’t know why my ribcage is purple and green, shadowing the clarity of my heartbeat and mind.  He doesn’t know why I don’t want to touch his hand.

If I accept his hand, the blood from mine will taint his.  The floor seemed to fall from the building as my eyes shifted over from his hand into a daze.

I might have killed him.

He tried to rape me, and I might have killed him.

“Kathryn?”  I focus back to meet his eyes, those eyes, those glass eyes that look at me. 

They look at who I pretend to be.

I just want someone to look through that, and realize that I’m not okay.

His eyes are the ones that shift this time, to my wrist.  I tilt my hand so that my sleeve fully covers the skin.  To me, the scars blend in with the skin already, but everything has just been melting together lately.

I know that look.

I get that look a lot.

That look that shows shock, sorrow, fear, worry, and surprise.

I know he saw them.

It’s been five years since I started.  It’s been five years since I decided to stop using a blade to take my life, but, instead, keep me from dying.

That’s the difference between suicide and cutting.

His lips part and I compose myself.  Pulling the strings that had fallen apart earlier, my body returns to pretend.  I am a puppet.

The assaulters, the rapists, my aggressors are my puppeteers.

My victims are my puppeteers.

My blade is my puppeteer.

 

Fear is my puppeteer.

My feet find the floor, stuck and planted.  Another day of pretending.

Eyes, wide and open.  Lips, a subtle purse.  Cheeks pulled back, shoulders down. 

I’m too used to this routine.

“Are you okay?”

I’m too used to this routine.

Smile.

“I’m fine.  Thank you.”

I’m too used to this routine.

The door holds open as I manage not to sway.  Practice has made me perfect.  Perfectly pretending.

 

I am tired of people looking at me.  At the fake me.

I want someone to look through me.  Through the fake me.

“I’m fine,” I whisper to myself, gripping my chair until my knuckles are white as the light behind the corners my eyes.

“I’m fine.”


© Copyright 2017 Kathryn Thorne. All rights reserved.

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